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KershawHealth announces centennial celebration plans

KershawHealth Centennial - 1913-2013

Posted: September 25, 2012 6:10 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2012 5:00 a.m.
KershawHealth commissioned artwork by Steven Sutor/

By 1958, the hospital moved to its current home on Roberts Street and appears as it does in the above sketch. By this time, the name changed to Kershaw County Memorial Hospital. This building still stands as the entrance to the Karesh Long-Term Care wing and administrative offices. The healthcare organization became the Kershaw County Medical Center in 1994 and, finally KershawHealth in 2009.

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“For the benefit of suffering humanity by giving hospital treatment to those suffering from physical ailments or trouble which might be cured or alleviated.”

With these words in his 1912 will, Captain John Burdell bequeathed the operating funds that would support the establishment of the first hospital in Kershaw County. Even before that, local citizens had envisioned a community hospital and begun fundraising efforts. Early in 1913, Camden native and successful financier Bernard Baruch provided the funds for the hospital building itself. By the end of that year, the Camden Hospital had opened and begun caring for patients.

A century later, that 20-bed hospital has grown into one of the leading community healthcare systems in South Carolina. KershawHealth has plans for the whole community to join in the celebration of its 100th anniversary. Sunday, April 21 through Saturday, April 27, 2013, will be KershawHealth Centennial Celebration Week. Beginning with an ecumenical service of thanksgiving for a century of healthcare in Kershaw County and ending with the gala Centennial Ball on Springdale Race Course, KershawHealth Centennial Week will include events for the entire community. In mid-week, an exhibit documenting the hospital’s history will open with a reception at the Camden Archives and Museum. Plans for the week also include the Centennial Family Barbecue and Chicken Bog at KershawHealth’s Outpatient Center in Elgin.

“A hundred years of caring for generation after generation in Kershaw County is certainly a milestone worth celebrating. But equally worthy of celebration is what KershawHealth is today -- one of the best, most-forward thinking community healthcare systems in our state,” KershawHealth President and CEO Donnie Weeks noted.

Weeks went on to point out recent achievements that put KershawHealth in the forefront of community healthcare systems:

• In late 2010, KershawHealth formed a partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina to provide state-of-the-art emergency stroke diagnosis and treatment.

• With the addition of several specialties recently, the KershawHealth medical staff now includes a broad range of specialties available at very few community healthcare systems -- orthopedics, ENT, urology, nephrology, oncology, cardiology, neurology, pulmonology, infectious disease, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology, as well as primary care.

• Since December 2011, the KershawHealth emergency department has been staffed entirely by physicians certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.

• The American College of Radiology designated KershawHealth a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in July 2012.

• KershawHealth has just acquired a new state-of-the-art MRI, only the second hospital in the state to have this particular advanced MRI system.

• In August 2012, KershawHealth received an excellent evaluation by the Joint Commission, the accreditation agency for the majority of U.S. hospitals.

But KershawHealth is not waiting until 2013 to begin the celebration. Today, it launches This interactive new website will provide updates on the centennial celebration, as well as allow visitors to become a sponsor, make a donation or purchase tickets for celebration events. The site features a weekly new fact, story or photo from the hospital’s history. And an interactive timeline on the website allows visitors to click on critical times in the hospital’s history to find out more about landmark events.

KershawHealth is also inviting Kershaw County citizens to search through their photo albums, scrapbooks and attics for any hospital-related material that might fit into the exhibit being developed by the Camden Archives and Museum. Combining artifacts, photographs and oral histories, this exhibit will chronicle four distinct periods in the healthcare history of Kershaw County: Healthcare in Kershaw County 1734 to 1912; The Camden Hospital 1913 to 1957; Kershaw County Memorial Hospital and Kershaw County Medical Center 1958 to 2008; and KershawHealth 2009-2013. The exhibit will tell the story of the hospital’s development through the stories of the medical staff, hospital employees, patients, and volunteers. KershawHealth’s history will be set into the larger context of the development of healthcare in the United States, demonstrating how Kershaw County was in step with advances in national healthcare and reform as it sought to care for the health of its residents.

Approximately 25 to 30 oral history interviews with former patients, physicians, trustees, nurses and employees will be a centerpiece of the exhibit, and will be displayed on television screens continuously. Another key component of the Centennial Exhibit will be the exhibit catalogue -- a concise, but comprehensive written history of healthcare in Kershaw County. Those with material to be considered for the exhibit or interested in doing oral histories can contact Katherine Richardson at the Camden Archives and Museum ( or 425-6050).

In mid-October, the KershawHealth Foundation will publicly announce its Centennial Fund Campaign. Through this campaign, the foundation will build a significant fund intended to support critical advancements in future years as KershawHealth continues its commitment to being the best community healthcare system in South Carolina.

“The Centennial Fund will help KershawHealth keep abreast of the latest technological advances in healthcare, to have appropriate facilities for providing care, and to attract and retain quality physicians, nurses, and other clinical professionals,” KershawHealth Foundation Chairwoman Mary Ellen Green said.

Kershaw County businesses will have the opportunity to be sponsors for KershawHealth Centennial Week events. Two after-hours events for local businesses to learn more about plans for the celebration and sponsorship opportunities will be held in October and November. For more information on centennial sponsorships, contact Foundation Executive Director Joseph Bruce ( or 272-0552, ext. 2). Official partners for the KershawHealth Centennial Celebration include Camden Media Company, print media partner; Cyberwoven, internet partner; WPUB Broadcasting, radio partner; Catery on Broad, catering partner; Palmetto Party Rental, event supply partner; and Flowers Naturally, event decoration partner.


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